Boaters should focus on safety over the busy July 4 holiday

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Scorching hot weather will likely bring even more boaters to the water for the upcoming July 4 holiday. Arizona's lakes and rivers will be congested, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department would like watercraft owners to take boating safety precautions while on the water.

An educated boater is a safe boater, and if you haven't had a boating education class, you are strongly encouraged to take one. A boating education class will inform you about many important topics that you should know, both before launching your boat and when you're out on the water.

One of the most important safety precautions a boater can take while out on the water is to wear your life jacket (personal flotation device or PFD). The thought of wearing a life jacket is often discouraging during Arizona's hottest months. But technology has brought water enthusiasts new and better options now. Retailers provide sporty, trendy inflatable and fanny-pack-style life jackets that are cooler, more manageable, and automatically or manually inflate.

Another important thing is to boat sober. Operating a boat while intoxicated is dangerous and is just as illegal as driving a car drunk, and penalties for violations are just as severe as DUIs while operating a car. The legal limit for blood alcohol is .08. If you're out with a group, designate a sober operator.

Be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide. It is an odorless, tasteless and toxic gas that disperses freely through the air and travels readily throughout a boat. Boaters should stay away from exhaust ports because carbon monoxide builds up in areas near exhaust vents. Swimming in areas where carbon monoxide may accumulate, such as the cavity between the swim platform and the stern of the boat, can be potentially fatal.

Before heading out, make sure that your boat is properly equipped and that all equipment is in good operating condition. And when you're out on the water, always make safety your number one priority.

For more information on boating in Arizona, visit